Tag Archive For "Game Design"

Here Be Monsters 2: Hell Breaks Loose

Always on the look-out for new gaming contests, my brother and I recently stumbled across Here Be Monsters 2: Hell Breaks Loose! HBM2 is a monster building contest which uses the Pathfinder RPG rule-set: something Matt and I are very well acquainted with.


This year’s theme required us to design an evil monster spawned from the BOWELS OF HELL. Well, not quite that specific. But definitely something devilish! We decided to blend together constructs, devils, and haunts into something entirely new: the Accursed Sentinel! Created by foul devil lords, these iron monstrosities are powered by the souls of a fallen priests. Spoooooky stuff!

Feel free to use this monster for your own, non-commercial purposes. I’ll be following the contests as the judging moves along, and likely be writing a post about the winners when they’re revealed on March 3rd.

Accursed Sentinel

An iron giant shambles towards you, two long rusted arms dragging at its side. A crystal bauble lies in the center of the construct: subtle gray mist swirling within.

Accursed Sentinel CR 7
XP 3,200
LE Large construct (devil)
Init +0; Senses darkvision 60ft., low-light vision; Perception +3


AC 20, touch 9, flat-footed 20 (+11 natural, -1 size)
hp 79 (9d10+30)
Fort +3, Ref +3, Will +6
DR 5/adamantine or good; Immune construct traits, fire; Resist acid 10, cold 10
Weaknesses soul forged


Speed 20 ft.
Melee 2 slams +13 (2d6+5)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 10 ft.
Special Attacks blessing’s blight, flames of the fallen


Str 21, Dex 10, Con -, Int -, Wis 16, Cha 1
Base Atk +9; CMB +15; CMD 25
SQ immunity to magic


Environment any (hell)
Organization solitary or pair
Treasure incidental


Blessing’s Blight (3/day) (Su)
As a swift action, an accursed sentinel may imbue its attacks with a special power. If one of its slam attacks hits a creature within the next minute, that creature is the subject of a targeted dispel magic using the accursed sentinel’s hit dice as the caster level. However, this ability only affects spells with the good descriptor. Once the strike is made, the power dissipates, even if the dispel attempt is unsuccessful.

Flames of the Fallen (3/day, DC 17) (Su)
Three times per day, the accursed sentinel may spew forth a 15ft cone of black flames as a standard action. Any creature in the area of the flames takes 4d6 points of damage, with a DC 17 reflex save for half.

Half the damage is fire damage, but the other half results directly from unholy power and is therefore not subject to being reduced by resistance to fire-based attacks.

Flammable materials burn if the flames touch them. A character can extinguish burning items as a full-round action.

Immunity to Magic (Ex)
An accursed sentinel is immune to any spell or spell-like ability that allows spell resistance. In addition, certain spells and effects function differently against the creature as noted under Soul Forged.

Soul Forged (Ex)
Encased in a crystal bauble at the center of an accursed sentinel is a soul that once belonged to a good-aligned cleric. Although corrupted through devilish magics, the soul can be redeemed and released.

Positive energy applied to the soul at the heart of the accursed sentinel (via channeled energy, cure spells, and the like) can purify it. An accursed sentinel gains a Will save as normal to lessen the damage done by such effects, and attacks that require a successful attack roll to work must strike AC 20 in order to target the soul itself and not the inanimate parts of the construct.

Once the soul has received 31 hit points of positive energy damage, its container shatters and erupts in a fountain of searing light: releasing the entrapped soul. When this occurs, the accursed sentinel is immediately reduced to 0 HP, gains the staggered condition, and may no longer use its Blessing’s Blight or Flames of the Fallen special attacks.


Accursed sentinels are mindless constructs crafted by particularly spiteful devil lords. Diabolical machinations entrap and confine the souls of good-aligned priests, twisting their potent holy energies and channeling them into a mammoth iron shell.

Often used for menial labour (much to the delight of their masters), accursed sentinels are also valued as guardians. Their mindless patience and boundless stamina make them effective protectors, and their black flames allow them to “cleanse” areas of unwanted visitors.

A accursed sentinel is approximately 7 feet tall, roughly humanoid in shape, and weighs nearly a ton. Although each construct varies in exact form, they are almost uniformly made from bands of jagged and rusted iron. In the center of every accursed sentinel is a small crystal bauble which houses the ensnared soul of a fallen priest.

Yavmir Map Reconstruction: Complete

It has taken a few months of on-and-off work, but I’ve finally finished the terrain reconstruction for the new map of Yavmir. As mentioned in a few earlier posts, the goal of this project was to replace the old Yavmir map, which was no longer accurate and rather bland in style. You can check out a PNG of the map below.

Add NewYavmirMapTerrainComplete


What’s next for Yavmir? Well, Matt and I are working on a super-secret project that should be ready for beta release over the next few months. It will incorporate a lot of different elements we’ve been working on (including this map) into one big ol’ project. It should be fun!

As for Unearthed, which some people have been asking about… I should have another big update before the end of September.

THAC0 to Pathfinder BAB Conversion

Preface: I imagine that this will likely fall under the “stuff only Mike cares about” category, but I thought I’d share this little thought experiment anyways. Being a big fan of both 2nd Edition AD&D and Pathfinder, I’ve often looked at the differences between the two games and how to transition content from one to the other. One of the big differences, of course, is how a character’s basic ability to hit enemies is calculated. Let’s take a quick look at both systems.

THAC0 (2nd Edition AD&D)


THAC0 is an abbreviation for To Hit Armor Class Zero (0). To calculate if a hit succeeds you take the AC of the target and subtract it from the attacker’s THAC0, then roll a 20-sided die; if the die rolls equal to or higher than the calculated number, the attack hits. That is, THAC0 − AC = roll needed to hit.

Pavo the intrepid warrior has a THAC0 of 14 and wants to hit an Orc that possesses an AC of 5. Pavo rolls 10 on a d20 as his attack roll, beating his target roll of 9 (14-5). The Orc is hit with a mighty blow!

The math works out, but I bet you had to read through the description a couple of times for it to make sense. Although THAC0 was meant as an alternative to the to-hit tables of earlier editions, the math was a bit tough for folks to wrap their heads around. I remember being quite stumped by the concept when I was younger!

BAB (Pathfinder)


A base attack bonus is an attack roll bonus derived from character class and level or creature type and Hit Dice (or combination’s thereof). Base attack bonuses increase at different rates for different character classes and creature types. A second attack is gained when a base attack bonus reaches +6, a third with a base attack bonus of +11 or higher, and a fourth with a base attack bonus of +16 or higher. A character adds his BAB to a d20 roll (plus any additional modifiers), and if the result is equal or greater to the AC of their target, then the attack hits.

Pavo the intrepid warrior has a BAB of +6 and wants to hit an Orc with an AC of 15 (AC is different in Pathfinder, more on this later). Pavo rolls 10 on a d20 as his attack roll, beating his target’s AC of 15. The Orc is hit with a mighty blow!

Well, it seems like things have been streamlined a bit! I mean, there is a little bit of extra stuff in there regarding iterative attacks, but we’ve switched to an all-addition, all-the-time system. This is especially useful when you consider that other attack bonuses (strength, magic, etc…) can be simply added to the roll.

How To Convert

Dungeons & Dragons dice

In order for the conversion to work properly, you have to change the THACO of the attacking creature as well as the Armour Class of the defending creature. We’ve looked at the attack calculations already, but in regards to Armour Class I’ll just say this: AC starts at 10 for both editions. In 2nd Edition a lower AC is better, and in Pathfinder a higher AC is better.

So what are the magic equations that let you convert from 2nd Edition to Pathfinder? Behold!

20 – THAC0 = Pathfinder BAB

20 – AC = Pathfinder AC

Easy, right? You can use the examples I gave above to see how the conversion looks like in action. Although the math is a bit different, the numbers and dice rolls work out the same!

Pavo’s To-Hit Calculation
20 – 14 = BAB of +6

Orc’s Armour Class
20 – 5 = AC of 15

So there you have it! It’s actually a pretty simple system, and I hope that it proves useful to some of you home-brewers out there who tinker around with variant systems. It should be noted that the math works just as well for Dungeons and Dragons 3.5, which happens to share most of the same rules of Pathfinder. Have fun converting anything from Aboleths to Zombies!